At last I've cracked it! With the help of "the wholegrain gourmet", I have found a recipe for granola bars that doesn't taste like it's good for you. What I'm trying to say if these granola bars are super tasty. As you may have read before, I've been searching and testing granola bar recipes for a while. I object to buying granola bars filled with unpronounceable ingredients that aren't good for us, not to mention the expense.
The wholegrain gourmet website has a lot of good recipes; well worth a look at. This recipe is a adaptation of their Coconut Almond Granola Bar recipe. I like it because it has minimal sweeteners, lots and lots of wholegrains, for a longer energy boost and it uses coconut oil (but not much) as the fat. This could be replaced by canola oil if you don't have.
I tested my latest attempt on a few friends, as well as the family and they got a resounding 2 thumbs up. The only refuser is my 4 year old on the grounds of visible nuts. "I'll soon fix that" I thought. Grind them longer in the food processor or in fact leaving them out altogether is a possibility too.
These really are easy to prepare; I recommend making a double batch and freezing what you can't eat in 3 days. Wrap them in plastic wrap and then into a freezer bag. They really freeze beautifully.
The Best Granola Bars Ever
adapted from http://www.wholegraingourmet.com/recipes/57/52.html
Yields one 9x13" pan
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup 10 grain cereal (I used Bob's red mill but any multigrain cereal for making into hot cereal would do)
1/2 cup wheat germ (or oat bran, wheat bran or ground flax seeds)
1 1/2 cups almonds
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup honey or 1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (usually solid when you purchase it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried fruit of your choice (I used apricots and cherries)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened, if you have unsweetened, increase the honey a little)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Lightly grease the pan with coconut oil
- Place the almonds in the food processor and pulse until the size you like. Be careful not to over pulse or you will have almond butter!
- Remove the almonds and place the dried fruit in the processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
- In a large bowl, mix the oats, cereal, wheat germ, almonds, sesame seeds and shredded coconut. Then place this mixture on a large rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven for approx 15 minutes to toast up. Stir 2 or 3 times during the toasting time.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the coconut oil, honey/ agave, vanilla and salt and warm on a medium low heat until melted and combined; for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the cereal mixture from the oven, reduce the heat to 300°F and mix the cereal with the honey/oil mixture. Stir to combine well and add the dried fruit. Stir to combine and finally add the chocolate. Stir quickly as the chocolate will melt.
- Working quickly, pour the mixture into the baking pan and press firmly down using the back of a spatula (or your clean hands)
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Slice the granola bars after 5 minutes cooling in the pan. Then leave to cool completely in the pan
- You will need to slice again and be careful not to break up the bars as you slice. I held down the mixture with one hand and sliced with the other. I also cut mine into squares as it seemed easier not to break them up by doing that (not to mention they look more like cookies that way!)
- If you are going to freeze them make sure they are completely cool before doing so
A couple of notes:
I haven't yet tried the nut free version for my 4 year old, but I plan on increasing the rest of the dry ingredients to replace the lost volume of nuts. When I test this I will add a comment to this recipe.